Urban Green Man is the both the title and intended subject matter of a forthcoming theme anthology from Edge Publishing for which I’ve been invited to submit a story. Considering all this moss that’s been creeping from my armpits and between my toes of late and the details of my living circumstances over the past couple years, you’d think this would be right up my alley, right in my hermitage, so to speak… but for some reason I’m really having a hard time at it.
The below ramblings on nature and the city are the result of an attempt at writing-avoidance aka “brainstorming” in order to figure out what the green man myth could possibly mean in an urban context and in the modern age.
Some variety of blue lobelia, best guess Lobelia kalmii, Franklin Park Wilderness, Roxbury, MA.
Sitta canadensis, Arnold Arboretum conifers section
This guy is a bit north of his range for the season.
Happy new year.
Dolichonyx oryzivorus, summer plumage. Upland meadow, Graves Farm Sanctuary, Haydenville, MA
Ocellated Turkey, Meleagris ocellata
Great egret, Ardea alba, in the breakwater swamps inland of Monterrico.
A black vulture, Coragyps atratus, on the ruins of Temple 1.
I think this is a tyrant flycatcher, Tyrannus verticalis. They nest in the western US in the summer.
And a gray-necked wood-rail or chiricote, Aramides cajanea. These were super hilarious to watch walking around with their little tail-feather tuft and their bizarro backwards knees. They are lowland marsh birds, no doubt prayed upon by the caimán–of which I have a picture somewhere.
Getting to the end of the Guate pictures, though. I’ll save that one for last.
Fine thing about these Guatemala pictures…I get to gaze on their green jewel-eyed wonder and not think about how spring is not yet here and there’s still snow in the hills. Going to the Smith Bulb Show this week–another ritual of anticipation.
I figured out how to take halfway decent pictures of birds in the cherry and shag birch trees outside my kitchen even with screens in the way. I realize they are just your run of the mill songbirds, but around this time of February, with the snow piled as high as it is and not much sign of letting up, even silent winter songbirds start looking pretty interesting. I like the way they get all fluffy when it’s cold.
A Northern Mockingbird, mimus polyglottos
And a Northern Carndinal female.
I also see a lot of jays, bluebirds, dark-eyed juncoes, goldfinches, nuthatches, tufted titmice. Maybe if I really start to go stir crazy I’ll try to take pictures of all of them.